22 SES 11 B, Inclusion and Exclusion: various perspectives
OECD’s (2018) new international comparative assessment of global competences towards an inclusive world suggests that students as well as their teachers, educational leaders, teacher educators and learning environments are or aim to be inclusive. The assessment instruments have a component of students’ self-reported items on attitudes in terms of openness towards people from other cultures, respect for cultural otherness, global-mindedness and responsibility. This paper problematizes the concept inclusive world by exploring 1) what aspects of inclusion and exclusion or marginalisation in higher education students have observed in their learning activities and environments, and 2) what inclusive world represents to them. The participants are students of education sciences from a variety of study programmes (early childhood, teacher education, special education, educational leadership, adult education), that is, future education professionals from about 40 countries.
The study focuses on the students’ observations, aspirations and imaginations of an inclusive higher education and inclusive world. The students are provided a platform to share their observations and co-create ideas and practices how to change higher education towards an inclusive world. Thereby, the study offers an opportunity to connect local observations to the wider, global education development goals. The aim is to produce knowledge on higher education students’ imaginary, as future education professionals who are connected and have access to participation in a learning community. Thus one of the SDG4 indicators (SDG4.7) that is to measure advancement “extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in: (a) national education policies, (b) curricula, (c) teacher education and (d) student assessment” (UN, 2015).
Nussbaum’s (2002) perception that higher education has both the potential as well as the opportunity to cultivate humanity, globally, forms the foundation for the study. Considering that education has been valued for its transformative potential and recognised as a means of fostering citizenship we need to check whether and how inclusion is embedded in higher education. Education reaches beyond citizenship into the heart of being and becoming human which involves biological, cognitive, cultural, individual and social dimensions that together create different potentials and constraints for education (Tikly, 2015; Brown, 2009). Therefore, higher education programmes have the potential of advancing inclusion by critically reflecting on and re-checking their own approaches and concepts applied in education. Introducing inclusive world to students can start from higher education institutions and by engaging students in the assessment of inclusiveness in teaching and other activities.
Data were collected in one Finnish university from 32 education students who represent several countries. The students had participated in lectures and seminars introducing knowledge of global education development with tasks to reflect on connections between local and global education, academic literature on the topic, and to write learning assignments. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular the goal 4 (SDG4) “inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all” formed the core of the learning tasks. After the study courses the students were requested to make observations on inclusion in the university environment, teaching and participation, and reflect on their findings and share ideas how to advance inclusion in higher education as well as in the wider world and their future work. The data are reports and shared online discussions from the students who have provided permission to use their material in research. All details identifying the students were removed before the data analyses and reporting. The qualitative thematic content analysis involved three stages. First two researchers read all the material and drafted key themes in the observations and ideas for improvements in higher education. The second round of analysis focused on the connections between observations, ideas for improvements in higher education and inclusive world. The third stage aimed to construct the students’ ideal inclusive world.
The education students understood inclusion as a global challenge, showed capacity of reflecting how local and global developments are connected, starting from their own higher education studies and environment, and were capable of reflecting on what they in their future professions may do and identified stakeholders and key partners with whom to work. Through the online sharing the students developed new ideas as how to advance inclusion in higher education, not only in the future but also during their studies, and as a community of future professionals. Therefore, when assessing students’ global competences towards an inclusive world, emphasis needs to be on sharing and collaborating, as well as responsiveness of a community to global challenges. The students identified ways in which they would or will contribute to change and transform education and the world.
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00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
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